Traveling to enrich your life - Dallas News |

Traveling to enrich your life

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The younger generation is choosing extended, meaningful travel experiences over standard vacations. They are redefining what travel looks like.

Dylan Driscoll, 22, just got back from the trip of a lifetime. After graduating from college, he booked an open-ended trip to Europe. He was gone for 35 days and went to 12 countries.

"The people you encounter are so incredibly different from people you encounter on an everyday basis," he says. "And just hearing their stories and hearing things they've experienced and making your own experiences with them."

Sarah Spagnolo, a special correspondent and new media editor at Travel + Leisure magazine, says that while young people traveling internationally is not a new trend, how they're doing it has evolved.

"They're traveling internationally; they're spending more in many cases. They're looking to connect with locals and they're looking to enrich themselves," Spagnolo said. "What's new and different is this emphasis on the DIY experience, so these millennials are more accustomed to finding their own experiences online -- whether that's connecting, booking a trip, booking a restaurant reservation -- and they are taking that to the next level, so connecting with locals in different destinations."

Websites like Airbnb, Couchsurfing and Vayable, which connect travelers with local tour guides, have helped shape a new kind of travel experience.

"These big websites are really popular with millennials and a lot of travelers because it not only reduces costs but they get you into the local culture a lot more," says New Yorker Matt Kepnes, better known on the Internet as Nomadic Matt. He caught the travel bug 10 years ago and hasn't stopped moving since. He now helps other people travel the world through his website.

"For young millennials -- and I think people in general -- you learn a lot about the world and yourself the more time you spend overseas," he says.

Spagnolo agrees that while traveling opens you up to a world of new experiences, it also puts you closer in touch with yourself.

"When you're out exploring the world you become more of who you are and you take those memories with you when you're back in your real life," she says. 

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